A Documentary Film Treatment
St.Clair Bourne, Michelle Reid, Charles Stephenson

GO-GO will tell the untold story of an overlooked musical genre – go-go - a musical and cultural phenomenon indigenous to the nation's capital and surrounding areas. GO-GO will explore the musical, cultural, social and even political elements which shaped a new style of live band performances- a call and response technique with a continuous, percussive "breakdown" beat between songs.

The heart of go-go music is the drumbeat peppered with congas and percussion instruments and driven with a slowed down heavy drumbeat. Fans dance continuously to the pulsating rhythms but they also participate with the band in “call and response”, that is, the band calls out a phrase (a neighborhood, a birthday or a school) which is repeated or completed by the audience.

This music started in the 1960’s and continues to dominate the Washington, DC music scene even today. This particular music emerged from a rich tradition of live “funk” bands in Washington, D.C. Through the years, bands would perform at various dance halls throughout the city thus drawing hundreds and sometimes thousands of patrons to functions. Later these functions were called go-gos, after the Smokey Robinson hit tune, “Going to a Go-Go”.

However, this film will not merely be a journalistic overview film but rather the core narrative story will be several contemporary stories of individuals who represent the go-go music scene. In the spirit of hip hop music documentaries "The Show" and "Rhyme and Reason" this film will capture the go-go sound and culture through the perspective of veteran and emerging go-go band members.

Some of these film subjects candidates are

a) Sweet Sherri, keyboard player with Chuck Brown, and Myescha Rasheed, of Myescha and the Hip Huggers will add female voices to the discussion of go-go. We will observe Myescha’s band, which did not start as a go-go group, evolve as such.

b) Richard Harrington, Washington Post Entertainment writer and media’s go-go historian, together with and Alona Wartofsky, also a Washington Post writer, can be counted on to cover what is interesting in go-go.

c) Maurice “Mo” Shorter, manager and promoter, is a mature business voice.

d) Marion Barry, former Mayor of Washington, D.C.,

Additionally, we will interview managers, distributors, djs, club owners, music producers, filmmakers, fans, local politicians, promoters and music journalists

Cameras will capture on-stage performances as well as backstage sequences with the celebrities, fans and significant players in the go-go scene. Most of the film will be shot on location at popular D.C. night clubs, studios and homes. The film will be edited in a compelling, entertaining and sexy MTV style with high end graphics, stock footage and photos.

Within the documentary, there will be a section that pays homage to the "Godfather of Go-Go" Chuck Brown and his overall influence on the younger go-go bands like EU, Rare Essence, Trouble Funk, Junk Yard as well as up and coming go-go bands such as the Hucklebucks, Shuttle Thoughts, Uncalled 4 Band, Total Control which represent the “new wave” of go-go.

Go-go had its day but the music failed to gain widespread exposure and appeal for various reasons - its political and social baggage, its lack of support from the overall music community and its alleged connection on D.C.'s drug and violence epidemic in the '80's (during which Washington, DC was pegged the "murder capital of the world"). In addressing the decline of go-go, we will deal with the idea that drugs and violence played into the “demise” of go-go. The scourge of drugs and violence hit the entire country and therefore, any discussion of this issue will be couched as a national problem, not just a D.C. problem.

Go-go music continues as preferred entertainment for thousands and thousands of Washington metropolitan residents. In a time when the music scene emphasizes turntables, beat boxes, and other electronic gadgets to make sounds, in Washington and surrounding areas, you can still dance all night long to the funky go-go beat with live musicians. Over the year, artists like Salt 'n Pepa, Kurtis Blow, Jill Scott, Doug E. Fresh, Grace Jones and Jay Z have used go-go music to sell records.
For over thirty years, in Washington, D.C., audiences flock to hear and get down to the sounds of go-go bands. This phenomenon remains interesting to music aficionados and the industry in general. GO-GO: THE FILM will be the first comprehensive high quality film about go-go music.